The new owner of Adams Childrenswear has vowed to return the retailer to its former position as a high street leader with an aggressive store expansion programme and more premium offer.

Habib Alvi, which operates in the textiles and financial services industries, bought Adams from former chairman and owner John Shannon in September. Shannon, who had rescued Adams from administration twice before, is no longer involved in the business.

Adams has re-opened five of its former stores in the past six weeks and will open five more before the end of November, in Dartford, Bolton, Andover in Hampshire, Coventry and Kettering in Northamptonshire.

Four Adams concessions will also open in Menarys department stores in Ireland within the next five weeks. Adams currently has 124 stores and 17 concessions.

Adams has also expanded its price points with the introduction of more premium ranges.

Retail director Paul Walkden said that he is initially proposing 15 new stores before Easter. “The owners seem very ambitious. I expect  expansion to escalate in 2010.”

The kidswear chain will initially target key shopping centre sites it lost during its two administrations, including Bluewater, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and the MetroCentre in Gateshead. Adams is also targeting international expansion via its franchise partners, with India and Poland first on the agenda.

Walkden said that trade had been stronger than forecast since the takeover, but that year-on-year comparisons were difficult because the stores were discounting heavily last year
in anticipation of administration.

He added: “We are far less reliant on discounting since the investment by Habib Alvi.”

Walkden also said Adams was committed to continuing its store refit programme, which began last September, and said the new investment would allow this. 

Adams’ contract with US kidswear chain Gymboree, which saw two Adams stores carry Gymboree’s Crazy 8 product from autumn 09, is due for review at the end of this month. It is unclear whether it will be extended.